What happened in Hong Kong on China’s 70th National Day?
Eighteen-year-old protester, Tsang Chi-kin, was shot to the ground by the riot police on 1 October 2019. This marks the first use of lethal force against a protester in the 17 weeks since the protests began in Hong Kong. According to videos that captured the scene, a police officer can be seen on the ground while protesters crowded around to attack with umbrellas and metal poles. One protester is seen holding a hammer, another a wrench. Before the shot was fired, the young protester is seen swinging a metal pole at the officer who approached the chaos pointing a revolver. The officer then responded by firing the shot at the protester.
“My chest hurts a lot,” Mr Tsang was heard saying in the video.
What the Police Said
“The police officer felt that his life was threatened and his colleague’s life was threatened. He chose to use the gun to stop the attacker.” said Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai Chung at a press conference that day. He defended the actions by saying they were “legal and reasonable.”
What the Birthday Country Said
“No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese nation forging ahead,” President Xi Jinping said as his country celebrated with a lavish display of a military parade and gala evening show in Tiananmen Square.
“We will maintain long-term stability of Hong Kong and Macau, the development of cross-strait relations, and continue to strive for the complete unification of the country,” Xi said.
He added that China will remain committed to the “strategy of peaceful reinforcement of one country two systems.”
What the Protesters Said
Since the incident, more protests and marches have arisen over the shooting. Students have condemned the shooting, claiming that non-lethal means were available to the police officer as he was also holding onto pepper spray and a shotgun, likely to be loaded with rubber bullets.
“On a day of celebration in Beijing, the people of Hong Kong were weeping from the teargas and bleeding from the bullets fired,” said one protester.